Lend Lease reports first ever loss

Lend Lease, the Australian developer and construction company, yesterday posted a full-year loss, the first in its history, of A$714.8m. The company´s operating profit after tax was up 2% from A$226.3m to A$230.2m in the year to 30 June 2003. However, Lend Lease was hit badly by a A$945m write-down of its US real estate investment business, the majority of which is being sold to Morgan Stanley.

Lend Lease Chairman, Greg Clarke, said: 'The decision to exit the US REI business in an orderly way has certainly been expensive and painful, but it has been the right thing to do.' However, he remained optimistic about the group´s future and forecast a growth in earnings to between A$240m and A$250m in 2004.

In Europe, Lend Lease´s Real Estate Solutions business that includes its construction arm, Bovis, saw a 16% increase in operating earnings to A$60.3m after tax. The continuing sections of its European REI business reported a profit of A$43m after tax.

But it was Bovis Lend Lease that was the most successful, reporting a A$133.7m profit after tax, up 19% from 2002. It is also forecasting a 10% in profits after tax by 2004.

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